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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  12:20:00  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
I have emailed this to Fred Williams:

February 23, 2005

Dear Fred Williams,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a founder and administrator at the Skeptic Friends Network. Along with articles, essays, regular columns and such, we host and maintain one of the oldest skeptic forums on the Internet. Our “skeptic friends” are, for the most part, some of the most insightful, intelligent and polite people that a forum that invites debate and controversy could ask for. I am proud of level of discussion on our site. I am proud of our members.

As would be expected, and given that we do maintain a creation/evolution area of articles off our homepage, and a folder for debate in our forum, we get our share of creationists itching to debunk evolution. We have yet to ban a single one of those creationists, (or anyone ells for that matter in any of our other folders) simply because we don't agree with their ideas. Beyond copy write violations and some other administrative issues for the protection of our site, we take a very dim view of editing for content. Yes, we frown on ad hominem attacks and have issued warnings or closed, but not deleted, threads when the debate deteriorated into name-calling. Fortunately for us, these kinds of actions are rarely needed.

It has lately come to my attention that members of our site have been banned from your site simply because, and I quote,
“You have been traced to a troll forum. Skeptic friends network.” A troll forum, are we? As one of the top skeptic sites on the internet, that comes as news to me…

Now, I personally believe and have stated many times to our members that a fair debate on a creationist forum is an oxymoron. I have suggested to our members that it's a waste of time. The outcome is always the same. Deletion and banning are so common on creationist sites that it has become a challenge for some to see how long they can last, even when following to the letter, the stated rules of whatever the creationist forum is. By banning people like Peptide and tomk80 you have demonstrated that you are no different from the rest. Worse maybe, since they seem to have been banned simply because they are SFN members. Whatever. If you want to engage in a creationist circle jerk without any real challenge to your views, well, it's your forum…

Which brings me to the point of this letter. I would like to invite you to debate YEC on our forum. We could do that informally or set up a formal debate with rules, which we can all agree on. (Opening arguments, rebuttals and rebuttals to rebuttals and closing arguments; that sort of thing.) I can assure you that you will be fairly treated at SFN. Again, we do not ban or act on any bias against those who have ideas that we take issue with. We would not rule out a formal debate on your forum either as long as we could be assured that the rules for the debate will be enforced with an even hand.

Thanks for letting me take up some of your time.

I await your response:

David Glück
Skeptic Friends Network
www.skepticfriends.org

PS. I will be posting this challenge to you on our site. Feel free to post it on your site. Use my letter or use your own words. I don't really care. I would post this challenge on your site myself but I suspect that it would be deleted and I would be banned before the digital ink is dry…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  13:46:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Well said, Kil. I like it.

I wonder what the response will be, if any.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  13:54:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
Great letter, Kil. Bet ya a beer he ignores it completely.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  14:09:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
This reminds me of when I used to be on the Quackwatch mailing list. A lot of us signed up for Hulda Clark's mailing list. They banned us all because we asked hard questions. Then they banned us because we belonged to the Quackwatch mailing list whether we said anything or not.

Reality is the enemy.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  14:22:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
I predict that if (if!) Williams posts the letter or mentions it, someone will register here with the express purpose of getting banned.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  15:03:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

I predict that if (if!) Williams posts the letter or mentions it, someone will register here with the express purpose of getting banned.


Good call, Dave, though it'd have to be pretty fucking hard to get banned from SFN! You don't ban people for swearing (to wit this post!), and even when, for example, Verlch has issued some nasty sexist or anti-Jewish commentes, he remains a member in good standing here. Indeed, even the offensive posts weren't deleted! (Except, of course, when copyright issues came up.)

I'm sure that if someone tried, they could pull it off. But it would be interesting to see...
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tkster
Skeptic Friend

USA
193 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  15:06:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send tkster a Private Message
Okay, I get what an internet troll is, however, what is a troll forum? And exactly how is SFN a troll forum?

That doesn't make sense.

tk
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  15:11:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

I predict that if (if!) Williams posts the letter or mentions it, someone will register here with the express purpose of getting banned.

Might be interesting; even amusing. But he/she'd have to prostitute every ethic the Christians claim to get it done -- cursing, bearing false witness including plagarism, communicating threats (other than the usual), that sort of thing.

Damn! Now you've got my hopes up.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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leoofno
Skeptic Friend

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  15:15:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send leoofno a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil
<<stuff deleted>>

Whatever. If you want to engage in a creationist circle jerk without any real challenge to your views, well, it's your forum…

<<stuff deleted>>



I liked it except this bit. Seems a bit too... intemperate a remark to someone you are inviting over for a chat. He might even use it as an excuse to not take the invitation seriously. Your point is well made without it. I think your email should be kept as polite as possible, at least until he starts posting.

Just my $0.02

"If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention." Eric Alterman
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  15:23:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
So what would it take to get banned?

quote:
By pressing the "Agree" button, you agree that you, the user, are 13 years of age or over. You are fully responsible for any information or file supplied by this user. You also agree that you will not post any copyrighted material that is not owned by yourself or the owners of these forums. In your use of these forums, you agree that you will not post any information which is vulgar, harassing, hateful, threatening, invading of others privacy, sexually oriented, or violates any laws.


I'm pretty sure each one of these has been broken (except for the 13 years or older), and probably every one by Verlch.

But I could see someone making deliberate death threats could get them banned, although I don't know how they could ever play this off as if they didn't deserve it. Or possibly spamming porn in multiple posts or something serious like that.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  15:51:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
Ya, but V-man does it mostly on a joking-deranged way, not a deliberately offensive way.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  16:27:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Ok, well, didn't have to wait too long for a response. Here it is with my replies back to him. Gee, I wonder if this should have been placed somewhere ells? Like Skeptillaneous? Oh well, too late for that…


Dear Fred,

You said:
quote:
It is obvious one of our Admins regards your forum as a "troll forum", and I simply have to trust his judgment. You may have a decent forum, I really don't know, but from the sounds of the rules you mentioned below I suspect Admin3 is right. Don't take this personal, that's just the way I see a forum
that is soft on rules and has little moderating of its members, especially in this debate. Without firm rules, the debate turns into a baroomesque cesspool indistinguishable from the nonsense that happens at T.O. everyday.

Why don't you visit our forum and judge for yourself? The fact that most of our members do not step out of bounds does not mean that we are “soft” on our rules. It means we don't need to invoke them as often as we might if things were different. We give a fair voice to creationists, without letting our bias effect their treatment. See, what I am saying is we treat everyone the same…
quote:
Over the years I have found that over 50% of evolutionists I encounter are what I term an evo-babbler, and perhaps what my Admin3 terms a "troll". I have no time for them, they are not interested in serious, reasonable debate; they serve no other purpose than to waste our time. But I also find plenty that are civil, and those are the types who will be welcome on my
forum. That being said, the other Admins will obviously have different opinions on different members, but we trust each other's judgment on why we beleive someone does not fit what we are looking to accomplish at our forum.

I know the style of the two people who were banned simply for being members of SFN. There is no way, for example, that Peptide was not arguing science and doing so from a very knowledgeable perspective. I am betting that he was both civil and following the rules. Frankly, it shouldn't matter what he is a member of if he follows the rules of your site. What this amounts to is a way to get rid of anyone you or your administrators don't like. A loophole. Just label a whole site as “a troll forum” and it is guilt by association. It is also not stated in your rules that members of certain forums will be summarily banned. What other spurious and capricious rules do you guys have? You are obviously unencumbered by any sense of fairness.
quote:
Regarding a debate, I simply do not have the time. If I did have the time, nothing personal but if I did it at an evo site, I would probably choose EvCForum, because I know the owner and I believe they run a decent ship. So there would be no reason for me to venture elsewhere unless things changed there.

Fine.
quote:
I should also let you know that I am firmly convinced evolutionists don't believe the theory because of evidence, but because of their worldview. I don't say this to offend or tick off evolutionists, I say this based on many years of observation. For example, committed evolutionists are virtually always socially liberal, which proves my point (i.e. I don't know you from Adam, but am virtually certain you hold socially liberal views -
how could I possibly know that, if it was really on

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  17:14:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
Go, Kil, go!

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  17:31:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
And where have we seen all that before? I really do wish these guys would come up with something new. They've become so redundant that they're boring.

Oh well. Nice try, Kil.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  18:47:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil

Like Skeptillaneous?
Like Creation/Evolution? That whole area is going a wee bit stale. This could spruce it up.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2005 :  19:53:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Oh yeah, huh...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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